As most fans of the #Disney classic The Lion King will know, the film went through a number of different incarnations before becoming the movie we all know and love. Throughout these incarnations many characters were altered (Pumbaa was originally named Harold) or dropped from the story entirely.
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Of these forgotten characters, few have earned a place in the hearts of fans as much as Mheetu, Nala's younger brother.
First appearing in the earliest script for #TheLionKing — back when it was known as King Of The Jungle — Mheetu was described as Nala's tagalong younger brother, always wanting to hang out with the "big kids," Nala and Simba. In one version of the script, it was Mheetu whom Scar lured into the stampede, with the teenage Simba mounting an ill-fated rescue attempt before #Mufasa stepped in to save both young lions.
According to Linda Woolverton, one of the film's writers, Mheetu was created to give Nala a greater purpose at a point in the film's production where more scenes were set back at Pride Rock during Scar's reign. Nala's main goal during this time would have been to protect Mheetu from the vicious hyenas.
Later released concept art for Mheetu depicts him with green eyes and a dark tuft of fur on his tail, suggesting that #Scar, the only Lion to share these traits in the original film, may have been his father.
This is not necessarily a surprise as the original script for King Of The Jungle openly refers to Simba and Nala as cousins.
What Happened To Mheetu?
Of all the characters cut during production of The Lion King, Mheetu made it the closest to actually being in the film. While many characters were dropped when the film changed titles, Mheetu may have existed as late as the second to last draft of The Lion King; early storyboards having him present during the elephant graveyard sequence.
With little account of what happened to Mheetu by the time #Simba was an adult, many fan theories suggest that the cub met a tragic fate, killed by Scar after accidentally discovering his evil plans.
Could Mheetu Appear In The Upcoming Live-Action Remake?
In the end, it seems as though Mheetu was mostly cut from the original film due to time constraints. So, there is every chance that Director #JonFavreau could choose to resurrect the character for the upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King. Thus far, Disney's live-action remakes have tended to run for slightly longer than their #animated counterparts. One extra adorable lion cub could be just what this remake needs to set itself apart from the original in a positive way.